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    by Published on 04-13-2013 09:26 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. News,
    4. Carriers

    Just got word that the Samsung Galaxy S4 is coming to Bell on May 3rd for $699.95 straight up or $199.95 on an eligible 3yr contract. It will be available in either Black or White (I think). Pre-orders launch on Monday. If you pre-order you can get it as soon as April 27th.

    Check out the banding. Apparently it supports LTE on 700/AWS/850/1900/2100/2600Mhz. I'll have to double check that but if that's the case that's amazing. DC-HSPA+ (42Mbps) on 850/1900/2100 too.

    Now the big question: Coke or Pepsi? I mean do you get the HTC One next week on the 19th or do you wait another 2 for the Galaxy S4? One things for sure, HTC's One delay is going to cost them. ...
    by Published on 04-04-2013 10:33 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on
    Article Preview

    2012 was an exciting year for phones. High definition 1280x720 displays became common along with quad core processors. A few years ago, I would have never imagined that phones would sport specs like this. Just when you thought things couldn’t get any better, we now have phones with even higher 1920x1080 displays. That’s right, the same resolution as the TV hanging in your family room. ...
    by Published on 04-04-2013 01:04 PM
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    2. Devices,
    3. News,
    4. Carriers

    HTC, AT&T and Facebook have just announced the HTC First. It's basically an Android 4.1 phone with what sounds like an overlay made by Facebook. From the specs it sounds like a mid-range phone with a 4.3" display, Snapdragon 400 processor and LTE. It will be an AT&T exclusive.

    The overlay is called Facebook Home so it sounds like a Facebook-centric homescreen that has cover feeds (friend's news feeds), notifications, chat heads which sounds like the ability to Facebook messenger without leaving your current app, App Launcher and built-in Instagram.

    From its specs it sounds like it's not aimed at phone nerds but rather people who less concerned about specs and more interested in Facebooking.

    Pre-orders start today and will be available on April 12 for $99.99.

    Who's getting one? Quick! Someone make a MySpace phone! ...
    by Published on 04-01-2013 08:53 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. News
    Article Preview

    This just in, the webcast is still going on but at the urging of the American Heart Association, Google is going to stop naming future releases of Android after desserts. A spokesperson at Google had this to say:

    While we all love Google’s lighthearted names for Android; Cupcake, Donut, Eclaire, FroYo, Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich and Jellybean, since we’re in the middle of a war against obesity here in America we feel it’s our duty to help the cause. Going forward, future releases of Android will now be named after heart-healthy fruits and vegetables.

    The next versions of Android will be known as “Kale”, “Lettuce”, “Mushroom”, “Nectarine”, " Orange", "Pear".

    Our hope is that giving Android healthier names will encourage Americans to make healthier food choices.

    To help lead the way we’re also happy to announce our new Android Mascot. While the old’s very cute and round stomach was a result of an unhealthy lifestyle. The new one is trimmer and healthier. He will most certainly, live longer which means he’ll be able to buy more Android devices over his lifetime.

    What do you think of Google’s Android overhaul? Should they just stick to computing? Who liked the old, chubbier mascot?

    by Published on 04-01-2013 08:48 AM
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    2. News,
    3. Carriers
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    I didn’t see this coming but Industry Canada has just approved a surprise merger between Bell and TELUS.

    While Bell and TELUS have been sharing networks for a few years, they’re separate companies that compete with each other.

    A Bell spokesperson had this to say

    “A merger of equals will create unparalleled value for our shareholders. By consolidating the market we’ll be able to increase ARPU substantially while at the same time cutting costs. Further, the combined company will be able to dominate the upcoming spectrum auction. We can start charging extra for LTE, introduce 4 year contracts, 250MB ‘unlimited’ data and a new Network Access Fee.”

    You’re probably wondering why Industry Canada would approve such a merger given that they’re trying to increase competition. Turns out one of Industry Canada’s key conditions for the merger is that the newly merged company not operate under the name Bell or TELUS. That’s right, the new company won’t be known as Bell or TELUS.

    In order for the merger to be approved Bell will transfer their trademark to Wind Mobile which going forward will be known as Bell Mobility while Mobilicity will now be known as TELUS.

    Besides being able to merge, the combined company will be allowed to keep their combined spectrum.

    That leaves a big mystery as to what the new company will be called. My sources say that there is a shortlist including: Bellus and Canadian Regional Telecom (CARTEL). In the meantime, they’re going with the name “TELL”.

    It will also be interesting to see what will happen to Koodo and Virgin Mobile. Rumor has it that they will also combine into Voodoo Wireless.

    More details on the merger will follow shortly.

    by Published on 04-01-2013 08:43 AM
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    2. News
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    Huawei has had a challenging time breaking into the US market. Distrust of the Chinese owned company and lack of brand recognition have been blamed for their struggles.

    One reason why they’ve been struggling is their name. While Chinese speakers have no problem pronouncing Huawei, most people here think it’s pronounced “Hua Way”. Patriotic Americans don’t need to be reminded that they’re not buying American when they look for a phone. Nothing alienates potential customers more than having to correct them when they try to pronounce the brand.

    As part of their new assault on the American market, Huawei America will be changing their name to WahWay thus bringing the pronunciation in-line with the rest of the world.

    “Our hope is that in a few years, Americans will think that WahWay will be seen as American as Apple Pie, Hamburgers, Pickup Trucks and Baseball.”

    Good luck Huawei I mean WahWay!
    by Published on 03-21-2013 03:15 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. News,
    3. Carriers

    First round of bids are tomorrow, according to The Globe and Mail:


    How is it I am not surprised? ...
    by Published on 03-21-2013 01:22 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. News

    Just read over at PocketDial that you can now redeem codes on the Canadian Google Play site.

    Does this mean you'll soon be able to buy cards or is this how Rogers' $35 Google Play vouchers will be redeemed?

    Hopefully we'll be able to buy Google Play cards soon. I've been waiting forever for these.

    Thanks Logical_guy! ...
    by Published on 03-20-2013 01:25 PM
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    2. Devices,
    3. News
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    Today I had a chance to play with the Xperia ZL. It was actually announced earlier this year where Sony along with its sister phone, the Xperia Z.

    Both sport a huge 5" 1920x1080 displays with a mind-blowing pixel density of 440 ppi. You also get a quad-core processor from Qualcomm, 2GB RAM 13 and 2MP cameras

    The main difference between the 2 is that the Z is dust and water resistant plus it gets a glass back. The ZL has a smaller foot print along with an IR blaster so you can use it to control your TV among other things.

    While it has a 5" display, it's not as big as I thought it would be because it uses on-screen menu keys which saves a bit of space. It’s actually about the same size as the Galaxy S III so while I wouldn’t call it one-handed friendly, it’s not terrible either.

    The display itself looks incredible. 1080p resolution on a 5" display is pretty insane when you think about it. ...
    by Published on 03-14-2013 07:58 PM
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    2. Devices,
    3. News,
    4. Carriers
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    Today Samsung announced the Samsung Galaxy S4.

    • 4.99" Full HD Super AMOLED display. 1920x1080, 441 ppi with Gorilla Glass 3
    • 1.9Ghz Quad-core processor or 1.6Ghz Octa-Core processor.
    • Android 4.2.2
    • 13 and 2 megapixel cameras
    • LTE with support for up to 6 bands (for roaming).
    • 16/32/64GB built-in storage which can be expanded with MicroSD cards
    • 2600mAh removable battery
    • 130g and 7.9mm thin
    • physical home, menu and back keys
    • available in white or black

    The body is now poly carbonate with a special finish on the back.

    On the software side, Samsung has some new software features including Samsung Smart Pause. This allows you to pause videos by looking away. It also allows you to scroll the browser by looking and your face and what you're doing with your wrists and scrolls the page up or down.

    Both cameras can record pictures or video simultaneously. The camera software allows you to choose frame effects before you take the simultaneous shot.

    There's a Dual Video Call feature which allows you chat with both cameras at once (I think this requires Chat-On).

    There are 2 shooting modes including a Drama shot (no, it doesn't make your wife look fatter causing more drama). Drama shots snaps up to 100 photos in a 4 second span and then chooses specific pictures to create a shot where the subject appears multi times. It's great for action.

    Story Album takes your pictures, puts them into an Album. You can order a physical album if you want.

    Group Play allows you to share music, photos, documents and games without having to be connected to the network or a WiFi access point (presumably this is WiFi Direct). There's a cool Share Music feature which lets you play the same music through up to 8 supported phones.

    S Translator can translate both text and voice. You can say something to the GS4 English, it will translate it into another Language, hear the respond and translate it into English. Very cool.

    Air View allows you to hover over content to preview it without having to open it. This is similar to what you can do with a S-Pen on a Note 2.

    S Voice Drive is a car optimized feature which allows you make calls, check messages, etc while you're driving.

    Samsung Optical Reader is a OCR program/QR code program. It can translate, call, text message and search.

    Samsung WatchON is a fancy name for the IR Blaster which allows you to control your home theater. It can also pull information from an EPG (Electronic Programming Guide, nice).

    S Health is software to tell you you're fat using built in sensor. Certain functions will require you to buy accessories which include a S-Band (presumably like a Nike fuel band), heart rate monitor, etc.

    The new S4 looks nice but many of the new software features while very cool and snazzy aren't features I'd use in my everyday life. Many of them are very niche like S-Translate, Share Music, etc.

    The only one I could see myself using is the Drama Shot feature, WatchON (the IR Blasters) and maybe the driving feature. And all someone would have to do is write software to recreate Drama Shot (I have this on my iPhone already and I'm sure someone made an Android version). Ditto for the driving feature.

    Hardware is a evolution of what you have now. With the exception of the IR blasters I'm not sure the GS4 will really allow me to do anything I can't already do with a GS3.

    In Canada the Samsung GALAXY S 4 will be available from Bell, Eastlink, Fido, Koodoo, Mobilicity, Rogers, Sasktel, TELUS, Videotron, Virgin Mobile and Wind Mobile in Q2.

    In the 'States it will be coming to AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, as well as US Cellular and Cricket.

    Who's getting one? Or are you going to keep what you have now or go get a Sony Xperia Z/ZL, HTC One or wait to see what Apple comes out with later? ...
    by Published on 03-14-2013 01:30 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis
    Article Preview

    Today Samsung is having their Samsung Mobile Unpacked event tonight at 7PM. They're going to have a stream of the event here.

    They're expected to announce the Galaxy S IV. There are lots of rumors surrounding the device including a 4.99" 1920x1080 (because 5" is too big), a crazy 8 core processor which is actually has 4 fast cores and 4 slow, low-power cores, 2GB RAM, probably 16 or 32 or even maybe 64GB of RAM.

    Specs are great but they're only part of the story. Anyone can release a phone with awesome specs. Great hardware needs compelling software in order to connect with consumers.

    Starting with the original Galaxy S Samsung became a leader in Android with each new version grabbing more market share Let's look back at what made each one great.

    Galaxy S:

    Back when the Galaxy S came out Samsung wasn't the leader in Android it is today. HTC had the first notable Android devices like the Dream (T-Mo G1) and Magic. They were also the first to release an overlay for Android which was very raw back then.

    The Galaxy S had a 4" 800x480 display which used Samsung's Super AMOLED technology. OLED displays had been around for a year or 2 before the S launched but this one had higher resolution and deeper blacks which really made it pop. The rest of the specs were similar to other high end phones at the time. 1Ghz processor, 512MB RAM, 16GB RAM and a 5 Megapixel camera (but no flash unlike most other phones).

    On the software side, Samsung included their TouchWiz custom overlay and Social Hub. It launched with Android 2.1 and received 2.2 and 2.3 from Samsung.

    When the Galaxy S came out it was kind of infamous because both the design and software were very similar to the iPhone. It's notable competitors included the Apple iPhone 3Gs (came out before), iPhone 4 (came out after), Google Nexus One (before), HTC Desire (before), Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 (before) and Blackberry 9700 (before).

    Galaxy S II:

    By now, Samsung was really beginning to set themselves apart from other Android OEM's. The GS2 kept the original S' resolution but now the screen measured 4.3" and had a less grainy non-PenTILE Super AMOLED PLUS display. Other hardware was beefed up including a dual-core 1.2Ghz processor, RAM was doubled to 2GB the camera now captured 8MP along with a flash and 1080P video recording. Later versions added LTE and or NFC and or bigger displays with bigger batteries.

    On the software side, Samsung added a newer version of TouchWiz which took the Hub idea further and added a Reader, Music and Gamer Hubs. Samsung shipped it with Android 2.3 and it is currently on Android 4.1.

    Competitors included the Apple iPhone 4 (before), Apple iPhone 4s (after), Galaxy Nexus (after), HTC Raider/Vivid (after), HTC Sensation (about the same time), HTC Amaze (after), Motorola RAZR and the Blackberry Torch.

    The Galaxy S II also formed the basis for the original Samsung Note.

    Most of the Galaxy S II line was the focus of Apple's lawsuit against Samsung.

    Galaxy S III:

    Now Samsung is firmly in the driver seat. Not only are they the defacto leader in Android but they are also duking it out with Apple. Again hardware was beefed up. Some versions came with a quad-core processor while others had a dual-core which featured more efficient processor cores. RAM on some versions was upped to 2GB, with some getting LTE. The battery got a big boost, weighing in at 2300mAh

    The display now has 2.5x the resolution going from 800x480 to 1280x720 and measures 4.8". Samsung is back to using a PenTILE matrix display but the resolution is so high it's almost a moot point.

    Design wise the Galaxy S III has a much more organic shape compared with previous versions which while attractive, weren't particularly interesting looking.

    Somewhere between GS2 and GS3 Google finally got their act together and started offering stuff in Android Play so software-wise Samsung put less emphasis on their hubs. Instead, the latest version of TouchWiz has more usability focused improvements like using the front-facing camera to check if you're looking at the screen before it turns it off.

    Competitors include the Apple iPhone 4s (before), iPhone 5 (after), Galaxy Nexus (before), HTC One X (slightly before), HTC One X+ (after), LG Optimus G (after), Sony Xperia T (after) and Motorola RAZR HD LTE (after).

    The Galaxy S III is going to be tough act to follow. Samsung is really going to have to dig deep to find new features to grab consumer's attention. That said, they've built up enough of a brand that even if the GSIV is a dud, people will still flock to buy it. ...
    by Published on 03-05-2013 08:34 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. News

    The White House has agreed to act on legalizing cell phone unlocking! Thanks to everyone who signed the petition.

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/res...hone-unlocking ...
    by Published on 02-27-2013 08:57 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. News,
    4. Reviews and Hands-on
    Article Preview

    Recently, I reviewed the Nokia Lumia 920 and the HTC Windows Phone 8X. So I was pretty excited when I got the Samsung ATIV-S. All represent the best you can currently get on Windows Phone.

    If you were to compare the 3 phones on paper, the ATIV’s advantage is that it has the biggest screen, the biggest battery and most notably; a microSD card slot. Still, shopping for anything based on specs alone is the worst thing you can do. After all, things can be more than the sum of their parts. ...
    by Published on 02-25-2013 03:42 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. News

    Wow, looks like LG just bought WebOS from HP. Apparently they're going to use WebOS on their SmartTV's.

    This means that when HP gets back into the tablet/phone market they're probably not going to use WebOS. Is this the first step in HP selling off their PC and hardware business? Also, while LG is going to use it in their TV's and other connected devices will this affect their focus on Android?

    Also, for existing WebOS users:

    LG will assume stewardship of the open source projects of Open WebOS and Enyo. HP will retain ownership of all of Palm’s cloud computing assets, including source code, talent, infrastructure and contracts.
    HP will continue to support Palm users.
    Of course, part of me wonders what would have happened if LG (or anyone else) had purchased WebOS in the first place instead of HP?

    Here's the release. ...
    by Published on 02-25-2013 03:30 PM
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    2. Devices,
    3. News
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    Sony just announced the Xperia Tablet Z. It's a 6.9mm thin (iPad 4 is 9.4mm thick) tablet with a 10.1" 1920x1080 display (2048x1536 on iPad 4). It weighs 495g (iPad 4 is 652g).

    Probably the most interesting thing about it is that it's water and dust resistant.

    Under the hood is a quad-core 1.5Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4, 2GB of RAM. It's available both with and without LTE. It's currently running Android 4.1.2 with an Android 4.2 upgrade coming later.

    You also get built-in infrared so you can control your TV plus other devices. The camera has a resolution of 8MP. There are stereo speakers with four 'speaker halls'. You can use MicroSD that are up to 64GB in size.

    I'd consider getting it just for the water resistance alone - now I won't be bored when I take a bath. How about you? ...
    by Published on 02-25-2013 03:29 PM
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    2. Devices,
    3. News
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    Samsung just announced the Galaxy Note 8.0. It's a 8" tablet with 1280x800 display (169ppi), 1.6Ghz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 5MP camera and Android 4.1.

    Since it's a Note it comes with Samsung's S-Pen. You also get a bunch of S-Pen apps plus multi-view and pop-up video.

    Do you think it's a good alternative to the iPad Mini? ...
    by Published on 02-21-2013 11:23 AM
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    2. Devices,
    3. News,
    4. From The Forums

    100k signatures and climbing.

    Thanks to everyone who supported this petition!

    To view and sign the petition click here

    Discussion thread here
    by Published on 02-20-2013 11:40 AM
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    2. News,
    3. Carriers
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    TELUS just released their Network Experience application for Android, iPhone and pre-OS10 Blackberries. It can be downloaded in each platform's respective app store. Just search for 'TELUS'

    Sounds like a really cool idea but how do you report no service if there's no service?

    Actually, I gave the Android version a try and the app is pretty easy to use. It automatically knows where you are. If you want, you can tap the map and select another spot. ...
    by Published on 02-19-2013 10:51 AM
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    2. Devices,
    3. News
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    HTC just announced their HTC One.

    Hardware-wise it has a 4.7" 1920x1080 display with a mind blowing 468 PPI pixel density. 1.7Ghz Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor with 2GB of RAM, 32 or 64GB of RAM and a 2300mAh battery. It will be running Android Jellybean.

    It will be coming to TELUS, Bell, Rogers, Virgin Mobile Canada, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Cincinnati Bell and Best Buy (in the US). North American availability is 'late March'. Both black and silver will be available in North America each with either 32GB of 64GB of storage. Exact configuration is up to the carrier.

    It's wrapped in a beautiful aluminum unibody. The only fly in the ointment is the 2300mAh battery. What was HTC thinking? Unless the One is able to capture screen presses and turn them into energy 2300mAh will probably lag behind what everyone else is shipping. The trend is moving towards 3000ish mAh which for some people, means full day usage. 2300mAh will get you close but probably won't last the day.

    HTC is trying to differentiate their product but emphasized 3 aspects of the One: HTC BlinkFeed, the Camera which has HTC Ultrapixel with HTC Zoe and the built-in speaker with HTC Boom Sound.

    HTC BlinkFeed displays sources from your favourite content on the home screen. This includes sources like Associated press, Al Jazeera, Facebook, etc. You can choose from over 1400 content providers.

    HTC Ultrapixel refers to the sensor. The sensor itself can capture 300% more light. It's able to do this because it has a larger pixels. According to HTC, many 8MP cameras contain 1.4x1.4um pixels. the One's sensor has 2x2um pixels. That means each pixel on the One's sensor is 2x the size of a standard 8MP sensor. The sensor itself is 1/3" in size.

    Bigger pixels can mean less noise plus more dynamic range. A greater DR can mean better light sensitivity. Of course, bigger pixels can also mean lower resolution. The One's sensor has an effective resolution of 4 megapixels.

    Now I think that Megapixels are one of the most misleading ways to measure image quality. My observation is that the public as a whole seems to realize this too now since the number of megapixels hasn't been changing much in recent years. Still, you get some who wonder why their point and shoot takes inferior pictures to a SLR because the P&S has more megapixels.

    While 4 megapixels is probably sufficient most of the time, it will allow less flexibility if you need to crop. Since there's no zoom lens and you can't always get closer this is one of the downsides.

    Like last year's One series the One comes with a f/2.0 lens.

    When you snap a picture the One X takes 20 pictures plus a 3 second video clip.

    There's a 8 frame per second burst mode. While 8 fps is plenty, part of me is a little disappointed it's not higher since the processor only has to chew on 4mp images. When you do the math, that's 32mp of imaging data per second. Last year's One X did 8MP at 5fps; that's 40mp of data. Still, it's a very minor complaint.

    There's also optical image stabilization. This should be a huge advantage for video and also low-light photography and in my opinion is one of the best things about the camera.

    Speaking of video, there's also video HDR feature which increases the dynamic range of video from ~54db to ~84db. This means better low light video. My only complaint is that the video HDR records 1080p at an oddball 28 frames per second. This might be hard to edit initially.

    Lastly, HTC BoomSound addresses one of my biggest complaints about HTC phones with beats logos on them. When I see the beats logo I figure they'll be loud. While HTC has addressed the loudness of the headphone amp with their second crop of 2012 phones they still came with anaemic speakers that you can't hear in public. Now BoomSound means that there are dual, stereo speakers in front with a more powerful amplifier. I wasn't able to attend the event due to health problems so I'll have to try this feature out later.

    Another feature is that there is a built-in infrared port for remote control. While most smartphones are able to control recent TV's and other devices via Wi-Fi, typically they're not able to turn them on which limits their usefulness. With an infrared port you should be able to control everything just like you do with a regular remote. Neat.

    From a marketing perspective, I wonder whether too much stuff has too many names. I mean you need some marketing names that don't really mean anything - retina, touchwiz, etc but the One has HTC Zoe, HTC UltraPixel Camera, HTC BoomSound, HTC BlinkFeed, Sense Voice, HTC Sense and Beats. There might be too many names here to connect with consumers.

    Part of me also wishes HTC would ditch the One name. While I'm really glad they've moved away from giving their phones real names (Raider, Amaze, Legend, etc) Simply calling their phones 'One' makes it harder for them to describe the positioning of their phones. Is the One X better than the One V? What about the S?

    The 4 megapixel camera seems like a great idea. Megapixels mean almost nothing after all. Still, it's a risky move. There's a reason why everyone else is using more megapixels. But is it the right time now?

    All, in all, the HTC One looks like a really strong entry. In typical HTC fashion, they screwed up one feature. Last year it was the One X's 16GB of storage. This time around will it be the 2300mAh? Still, Infrared and a more usable camera are pretty enticing upgrades. I'm also glad that while HTC includes Sense, they're introducing other new features.

    Will it connect with consumers? Certainly, HTC has done a top-notch job. ...
    by Published on 02-14-2013 09:24 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. News,
    4. Carriers

    Just got word that the Sony Xperia ZL is coming to Canada beginning in April.

    It will be available on Rogers, Bell, Mobilicity, Wind, MTS and Videotron.

    It's the first in what should be many phones from Android OEMs in 2013 with quad core (or more) processors, 5"+ screens with resolutions of 1920x1080, 13MP cameras and 2GB of RAM.

    It will be available in black. No word on pricing. My guess would be that it will be priced at around the Galaxy Note 2's level. ...

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